Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Yesterday one of my third grade students asked me if I wanted to grow up to be an artist when I was a kid. I told her that I already was an artist, and that I make my own art when I can, when I'm not at work. One great thing about teaching art to kids is that they're you're biggest admirers and think even the lousiest of examples are awesome. Anyhow, she went on to ask me if I want to be famous, and how I should be a famous artist for making the art I make. I thanked her and instead of telling her how there are tons of artists who are far more skilled and creative than me, and have way more time and energy to foster and develop their work than I do, I told her instead how I would never want to be famous. My other students got in on the conversation and we talked about how with great fame, many basic freedoms are lost. I couldn't imagine being followed around by lowlife paparazzi while trying to buy groceries or go for a peaceful walk. My student's questions made me think about some of my own choices. If I were to pursue art full time, there would be sacrifices, many of which I don't believe are worth the trade-offs. I do however have great admiration and respect for those who do "go for it", and set caution to the wind. These simple questions made me ponder the many directions my life could have gone/could go. They make me wonder about the art I create and if some of it even is art, and do I really care. Finally, I told my students that you should never do things to be famous, but because you enjoy doing what you do. Yes, I believe that art should be shared with and seen by others, and in many ways, I think I make these monsters with my students (and their own work) in mind. In a sense, it's a brief escape from life's many responsibilities and worries, and a small daily indulgence into my own inner child. Sometimes, I think folks who don't take some time out to be a kid, suffer greatly in the long run. This is not to confuse childlike play with childish behavior however. Forrest Gump said how life is like a box of chocolates. I think, in many ways life is like a Splotch Monster... you never know which direction you'll go with one, so you choose one direction and make it work. And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.